Britain set to launch first ever genetically modified human embryo

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Genetically Engineered Babies(NaturalHealth365) On Friday, the CBC and Reuters published articles announcing that Britain is “planning to become the first country in the world to offer controversial ‘three-parent’ fertility treatments to families who want to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children.”

The British government will be drafting legislation later this year to legalize and regulate three-parent in vitro fertilization in which genes from the mother, father and a female donor will be genetically modified to specifically design babies without birth defects or incurable diseases.

It was reported that surveys state most Brits support implanting genetically modified embryos into women.

Is the public really demanding ”designer babies”?

Back in 2007, Pandora’s box was blown wide open when Cornell University researchers announced that they added a green fluorescent protein to an embryo left over from assisted reproduction thereby creating the first GM human. Since then, the U.K. and the U.S. have been working diligently to create “designer babies.”

Just this past March, it was announced by researchers from the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey announced that 30 babies have already been born using three-parent in vitro. According ABC news, “The researchers call their experiment ‘the first case of human … genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children.’”

In each of the 30 cases, the mothers were unable to conceive naturally, so researchers experimented with material from cells donated by a third woman and the additional DNA from the donor allowed a fetus to be conceived.

ABC news reported that the first successful attempt in genetically modifying a child born from this type of cellular transfer technique was published in a medical journal in 1997.

The first rationalization for GM babies is “Mitochondrial disease”

The guise under which the U.K. government is using to justify genetically modifying human embryos is to help families stop passing down inheritable mitochondrial diseases (MD) to their children. The technique that they are proposing alters mitochondrial DNA that is supposedly defective and suspected of causing congenital diseases such as fatal muscular dystrophy, blindness, various brain disorders, heart disease, lung damage, and liver failure.

According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, “Mitochondria exist in nearly every cell of the human body, producing 90 percent of the energy the body needs to function. In a person with mitochondrial disease, the mitochondria are failing and cannot convert food and oxygen into life-sustaining energy. For many, mitochondrial disease is an inherited genetic condition, while for others the body’s mitochondria can be affected by other environmental factors.”

However, this is not true. The science of epigenetics – literally meaning “on top of genetics” – has proven definitively that our genes can be “turned on” or “turned off” by life experiences such as thoughts, diet, traumas, achievements, etc.

A closer look at Epigenetics

According to the journal Epigenetics, the term “epigenetics” was first coined by Waddington in the mid-twentieth century in an attempt to bridge the gap between the separate disciples of biology and genetics. According to the article,

Epigenetics could be broadly defined as the sum of all those mechanisms necessary for the unfolding of the genetic programme for development. Several decades later specific mechanisms were proposed in which information was superimposed on DNA sequences. In particular, it was suggested that 5-methyl cytosine had a role in controlling gene expression, and also that the pattern of methylation was heritable. These predictions are now supported by a large body of evidence that shows that methylation is strongly associated with gene silencing in a variety of biological contexts.

In other words, we are not victims of the genetic lottery passed down to us by our parents.

GM food crops and GM people seem like a science fiction thriller, but they’re more than a reality at this point. The race is on and battle lines have been drawn. Unlike many people who are willingly and openly donating their bodies to science, we would want to see the world educated to learn that once you open up Pandora’s box, all hell breaks loose.

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Sources:
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/babies-parents-born-britain-article-1.1384984?localLinksEnabled=false
http://www.umdf.org/site/c.8qKOJ0MvF7LUG/b.7934627/k.3711/What_is_Mitochondrial_Disease.htm
http://theweek.com/article/index/238907/epigenetics-how-our-experiences-affect-our-offspring
http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/epigenetics/hollidayEPI1-2.pdf
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/06/28/uk-three-parent-babies.html
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117472&page=1#.Uc-b9Ba_gts

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